Valda Osborn

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Valda Osborn
Valda at Wembley Stadium April 17, 1940 - smaller.jpg
Personal information
Full name Valda Rosemary Osborn
Alternative names Valda Foggin (married name)
Country represented United Kingdom
Born (1934-09-17) 17 September 1934 (age 83)
Wembley, Middlesex, England
Residence Rustington, England
Former coach Arnold Gerschwiler
Retired 1953

Valda Rosemary Osborn (born 17 September 1934) is a British former figure skater. She is the 1953 European champion and World bronze medalist. She represented her country at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway, where she placed 11th.

Personal life[edit]

Valda Osborn was born in Wembley, England in 1934. During World War II, she moved to Richmond (Surrey), England and lived close to Richmond Bridge, a short walk to Richmond Ice Rink. She had private tutors for her schooling. After turning professional in 1953, Osborn resided in Brighton, Whitley Bay, Manchester and Feltham. Following the end of her performing career, she travelled around Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. She spent thirteen years in Northern Cyprus and then settled in Rustington on the English south coast under her married name Valda Foggin. She has a brother Richard M Osborn who is an author and has so far written four books - On Her Majesty's Cyprus Mission, On Her Majesty's Berlin Mission, Unbridled Power and Twilight for the West? In addition, she has two grandchildren, James (1989) and Charlotte Thistle (1993).


Osborn started skating at 2½ years at Wembley Ice Rink. She was taught by Arnold Gerschwiler,[1] who was her only coach during her entire amateur career. At age 5, Osborn won her first competition for "Under Sixes". During World War II, the Wembley rink was closed to save electricity. She moved to the Richmond Ice Rink, the only rink left open during the war. At 9½ years she passed the NSA gold medal at Richmond Ice Rink on 6 June 1944 (D-Day). She was the youngest skater to pass her Gold and continues to hold the record.

Osborn continued skating at Richmond during and after the war. She became the British national champion in 1952 and was selected for the 1952 Winter Olympics, where she finished 11th.[2] In 1953, Osborn won her second national title and went on to win gold at the European Championships in Dortmund.[3] After her victory in Germany, she was awarded the Harry E. Radix skating pin. Osborn remains the last British skater to win the European title in ladies' singles. Later in 1953, she won the bronze medal at the World Championships in Davos, Switzerland.

During her amateur career, Osborn was featured in British magazines such as Everybody's Weekly (20 December 1947) and Illustrated (26 January 1952). She was also interviewed on the BBC radio show In Town Tonight.

Osborn appears in two clips at the website:

  • European Ice Skating Championships (1953).
  • Skating Champions (1948). Osborn is shown skating with Aja Zanova and Joan Lister.

In HBO's "Reflections on Ice" video, Osborn is shown on the podium with Tenley Albright and Gundi Busch at the 1953 World Championship in Davos.

Osborn turned professional in 1953. She starred in Tom Arnold's Ice Circus in Brighton and Tom Arnold's Robinson Crusoe on Ice in the winter of 1953 at the Grand Theatre, Leeds. Osborn then turned to coaching ice skaters in Manchester, Whitley Bay, Brighton and finally in Richmond. When Richmond Ice Rink closed down and the property was redeveloped, she retired.


Event 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953
Winter Olympics 11th
World Championships 12th 13th 9th 8th 3rd
European Championships 9th 4th 5th 1st
British Championships 1st 1st


  1. ^ "Arnold Gerschwiler: Ice-skating coach who spent 60 years training Olympic competitors and film stars at Richmond Ice Rink". The Times. 17 September 2003. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  2. ^ "Valda Osborn". 
  3. ^ "European Figure Skating Championships - Ladies" (PDF). International Skating Union. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2013.